The Spirit of Innovation

Hello PA-TSA! Hope you all had a fabulous summer and are eager to start the new school year. This year, TSA upholds the theme of “The Spirit of Innovation” – a phrase that encompasses the number one factor that triggers innovation, originality, and self-advancement: spirit.

Individuals that seek to explore different facets of STEM, from the very beginning, often find a way to take that curiousity and channel into something the world has never seen before. Their interest, enthusiasm, and confidence in what they do have unimaginable consequences – leading them to introduce original products, become future leaders, and influence others to do the same. Various individuals from all over the country, across different time periods have illustrated just this.

Take for example one of the country’s greatest inventors: Thomas Edison. This man held over one thousand U.S. patents to his name – he created the alkaline battery, he created the wood and rubber wheel, he created electricity from dry chemicals, he created the electric locomotive. The list goes on and on and on. But the one fact to realize from his long list of inventions is that such variety in innovation would have never been possible without this man’s drive, energy, and curiosity. He had established a strong inner motive to create functional products, improve every aspect of them, allow the public to use them, and essentially ameliorate the technological world.

Our century’s favorite Steven Jobs acquired that same drive. He made it a point to revolve Apple’s excellence around an intense focus on self-design, originality, and innovative spirit that came from within. And what happened as a result? The company disrupted the entire music industry, invented new product categories, and redefined not only the mobile phone business, but also the very idea of computing itself. It’s amazing to think that something as simple as motivation led to all of that.

So, I guess that brings us to the question of what happens when you don’t have that drive. Well, you’re always given the option of doing something you don’t enjoy – doing homework that only seems tedious, cleaning the dishes that have been sitting in the sink, completing that TSA display that you have been procrastinating on, etc. And, as learning young adults, we will most of the time be expected to do these things even if it doesn’t seem appealing to us. In instances like these, it’s best that we change our mindset and establish an inner motive that, not only gets the work done, but also has long lasting effects – just as innovation does. If we have that drive to learn, we’re able to focus on our homework and essentially culminate a greater amount of knowledge. If we think about how washing the dishes will make our parents happy, it won’t seem as much of a chore; and it will perhaps let you go next time when they are looking for someone to do chores. And when it comes to TSA – actual innovation – just look to those individuals that have been driven to improve the technological world, themselves. Who knows? Adopting their motives might lead you to becoming a leader yourself.